WHEN CAN I GET AN EMERGENCY COURT ORDER?

If your child has been harmed by the other parent or is in immediate danger of harm in the care of the other parent, you have several options available to protect the child. Those options include the following:

  1. Contact law enforcement if your child has been harmed by a parent;
  2. Contact Child Protective services if your child is in danger;
  3. Seek an order of protection if the child has been harmed or may be harmed by domestic violence;
  4. Ask a Court for an emergency order without notice to the other party (available in limited circumstances);
  5. Ask a Court for an expedited hearing with the other parent to address the protection of the child.

Generally, the Court CANNOT grant a request for an order unless the other party has notice of the order being requested and an opportunity to be heard by the Court regarding the request. In very limited cases, however, the Court can issue an emergency order without providing the other party notice of the requested order. An order issued without notice to the other party is known as an “ex parte order”.

Rule 48 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure governs when a Court may issue an ex parte emergency order. In summary, the Rule requires the following:

Required Paperwork: A party seeking a temporary ex parte order without notice shall do so by filing a motion, verified or supported by affidavit, together with a proposed form of order, and a notice of hearing on the motion. The motion shall be filed after or concurrently with an initial pre-decree, post-decree or post-judgment petition.

Circumstances Justifying an ex parte Order Exist: A temporary order may be granted without written or oral notice to the other party or that party's attorney ONLY if:

  1. it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit or by the verified motion that irreparable injury will result to the moving party or a minor child of the party, or that irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the separate or community property of the party if no order is issued before the other party can be heard in opposition; and
  2. the moving party or the party's attorney certifies to the court, in writing, the efforts, if any, that have been made to give the notice to the other party or the reasons supporting the claim that notice should not be required. Rule 48(A), Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, (emphasis added).

You must fully satisfy all of the requirements of this Rule for the Court to issue an emergency ex parte order. If your situation does not meet the requirements of this rule, you will not be granted an emergency ex parte order.

If you need the Court to address a matter urgently but do not qualify for an emergency ex parte order, you may file a request for an “Expedited Hearing”. If the Court finds good cause for the request, it can set a hearing for you and the other party to come to court. The Judge will hear from both parties on the issue in dispute.